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Sanchez-Cardenas, M. (2005). Jules Verne's Journey to the centre of the Earth: The secret of counterdepressive narratives. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 86(6):1695-1711.

(2005). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 86(6):1695-1711

Jules Verne's Journey to the centre of the Earth: The secret of counterdepressive narratives

Michel Sanchez-Cardenas

The author interprets Jules Verne's Journey to the centre of the Earth with the help of Matte Blanco's theoretical framework, which describes the principle of symmetry and the principle of generalization. The first states that, from the moment an element or a proposition becomes conscious, it coexists in the unconscious with its symmetrically opposite form. The second refers to the confusion of elements once they have been apprehended by thought as containing a common point; they are put into larger and larger groups which merge into an indivisible whole. Verne's novel is built on paired elements which become symmetrized (e.g. distinct minerals vs molten lava; scientific rationality vs madness; the living vs the dead, etc.). These elements in turn become confused with one another, thanks largely to the novel's atmosphere of oral incorporation. This allows the fusion between subject and object, and, in particular, between the orphaned hero and his dead (Earth) mother. The novel's narrative evolution through three stages (separation, fusion and de-fusion, which are paralleled by rational, irrational and rational thought) can thus be understood as a mourning process. Similar processes can be found in other literary works.

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